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Jeff’s Corner 4-13-17

Once again, “Greetings from the Easter Binney!” Here’s hoping your holiday is good, whether celebrating Passover, Easter, or any other spiritual spring celebration. This year, Easter Sunday also celebrates year 37 of the beginning of my adventures with Kathy. This brings lots of pressure to perform in the kitchen.

Today, we’ll take a look at the brand new 2015 Texas Bellissimo released last week, and part of our April Black Label Wine Club allocation. First, however, I want to share some behind the scenes info.

One of Brian’s many difficult jobs is to forecast how much wine we’ll need each year (in terms of production) to fill Wine Club orders with enough left for Tasting Room Sales. These calculations are done years in advance, and Jason has to decide how much fruit we need to purchase to fill the demand.

Well, it’s uncanny how spot on they are. On April 3rd 2015 I reviewed the ’13 Bellissimo, and on April 13th 2016 the ’14. Here I am again on the same day, a year later, talking about the new 2015. All three released within 3 weeks of each other over the last 3 years. This is creepy clairvoyant.

We first produced Bellissimo in 2004, so this is our 11th vintage as we did not make one in ’05 (or maybe ’06). It is the first of our 2015 reds to be released, and for a pup it shows fabulous discipline and finesse.

The color is a rustic, earthy garnet with dark, intense hues for a Super Tuscan. It is 54% Sangiovese, 31% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 16% Merlot. It is mostly High Plains fruit and carries a Texas appellation.

The aromas are vibrant, delicate, and complex. Lots of bright cherry and raspberry mingle with red licorice, cinnamon, cocoa, and vanilla. These continue on the palate, with clove and allspice that was quiet in the nose.

The finish is intricate as well. Bright acids weave with subtle oak and tannins for a lingering finish dominated by dried fruits and rustic spices. Like the ’14 Cabernet/Syrah we visited last week, this wine is true to style and everything it’s supposed to be!

Like we did last week, I thought it might be fun to check out the tasting notes I wrote for this wine for our Tank Tasting Party a few weeks ago:

“Our flagship Super Tuscan, this marks the 12th vintage of Bellissimo. The ’15 is garnet/ruby and shows rustic aromas of cedar, leather, and black cherry with flavors of licorice, clove and chocolate. The finish is long and sensual, with picture-perfect balance. Let’s pair this with a rich, super-cheesy lasagne.”

Happy trails...

Jeff’s Corner 4-6-17

Hello, Hello, and Hello again!

Well, how rough is this! Here I am sitting at my desk listening to Jerry Garcia, checking in on my beloved Tigers beating up on the evil White Sox on opening day, and writing a review of our brand new 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon/Syrah blend. It was just released Tuesday, and those of you that are Black Label Wine Club Members are lucky enough to already have a bottle!

When I was rescued from indolence in 2009 and began working at GCV, we were pouring the 2007 Cab/Syrah. No one paid much attention to it, (Bellissimo was, and still is, the rock star), but it quickly became my favorite wine.

The ’07 was lean and elegant, stingy with fruit but loaded with pepper and spice. To me, it was very “French” in style. It has remained this way over the years, and even though it has always flown under the radar in our portfolio, it has constantly been one of our biggest medal winners.

The new 2014 vintage fits this profile perfectly. It’s 60% Cabernet and 40% Syrah, a blend that has also remained very consistent over the years. The color is an intense, dark ruby/garnet with a brilliant rim.

This wine is everything our Cabernet/Syrah is supposed to be; it's elegant, understated, and extremely seductive. It shows subtle aromas of white and black pepper, cinnamon, cedar, and leather, mingling with hints of lavender and black cherry.

Consistent with the aroma, the flavor is refined and delicate with a cloying subtlety that begs us to take another sip. Vibrant acidity, integrated with soft oak and tannins, allows this wine to dance across our palate and end with a surprisingly long finish. It’s a real beauty, loaded with grace and grandeur.

Now let’s have some fun! In late February of 2016 I wrote a short description of this wine, before it was bottled, for our annual Tank Tasting Party last year. I made a point not to read it before I wrote this review, and here’s what I said:

“Bright shades of purple and violet; with flavors and aromas of black pepper, lavender and cedar mingling with cinnamon, Mexican vanilla, and clove. Delicate acidity and tannin create a sensual finish. Wonderful with a New York Strip in a green peppercorn sauce.”

The change in color makes a little sense over time, but like I always say, “Take wine descriptions with the biggest grain of salt you can find.”

See ya soon...

Jeff’s Corner 3-22-17

“The croaking raven doth bellow for revenge.” Hamlet (3.2.250)

And how sweet that revenge was last Saturday night at our Tank Tasting extravaganza, when my beloved 2015 Rose of Sangiovese surged past the upstart 2016 Rose of Malbec just before the polls closed.

Here’s how the election worked: Kathy (Ms. Malbec) and I (Señor Sangiovese) poured our respective wines for our guests. On the table in front of each of us were two empty fish bowls. In the middle was a large fish bowl of GCV wine corks. Each guest was allowed to vote for their favorite by casting a ballot (one of the corks) into the wines’ respective jar.

Kathy has crowed for a year about how her duplicitous Mr. Ramato, in the 1st annual “Great Rose-Off” last year, won a questionable victory over my squeaky clean Señor Sangiovese. That first competition was fraught with fraud. I was close to blind from eye surgery, cork stuffing was rampant, and gerrymandering was the norm.

Last Saturday, Ms. Malbec surged to an early lead, and in a tense moment of paranoia Señor Sangiovese accused her of having the more desirable side of the table. Tempers chilled, and after a Señor Sangiovese comeback voting was bottlenecked cork to cork.

Finally, Brian counted the tallies, “And after all the violence and double-talk, There’s just a song in all the trouble and the strife”. Señor Sangiovese 43 corks, Ms. Malbec 40. Ms. Malbec’s demand for a recount fell to deaf ears, much like mine in 2016 when Mr. Ramato won 46 corks to 40.

Next year, the rubber match..

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